In the next few months, the City of Oxford will face a shift in government. An era will end, and a new mayor will lead the town.
After a 16 years, Mayor “Pat” Patterson has announced that he will not run for re-election in 2017.
Born and raised in Oxford, Patterson loves the little town and its growing community. He is a proud sixth generation Oxford resident who graduated from Oxford High School and the University of Mississippi.
He holds two degrees, biology and chemistry, and aspired to be a game warden after graduation – a profession Patterson referred to as “a pretty common thing back then.”
Patterson didn’t plan to run for mayor in college, but took multiple courses at UM that would later help him as a city official.
“I had a lot of business courses [in college],” stated Patterson. “I loved learning about a lot of different things.”
After college, Patterson wanted to lead Oxford in an official position. In 2001, he ran for and was elected alderman. After serving on the Board of Alderman a few years, he wanted to do more, and was re-elected to a board position in 2005.
After holding a Board of Alderman seat for eight years, Patterson felt like he had served Oxford well. He had given much of his time to his beloved city, but was faced with a decision.
The current mayor, Richard Howorth, who had served two consecutive terms as mayor, would not be running for re-election, and Patterson hadn’t decided if he wanted to take the reins.
“Nobody wanted to step up and run for mayor,” said Patterson. “It just kind of fell in my lap to do it. I really do believe that there is a plan, and being mayor was kind of in the plans for me I guess.”
Throughout his time as mayor, Patterson has watched Oxford grow and reach various milestones. There have been many different victories throughout his two terms, but he said he’s most proud of the new hospital. Many years of thought and preparation went into the hospital plans, and Patterson is now able to see that hard work come to fruition.
“I am proud to have had a part in the making of the new hospital,” said Patterson. “It is a $350 million hospital that will serve the community for generations to come, and I am honored to have had a part in that.”
As for the rest of Patterson’s term, he hopes to address some of Oxford’s underlying issues, the biggest being growth.
“Traffic, growth, and infrastructure are large problems in Oxford,” said Patterson. “We are building three new roads and working with MDOT and the federal government to see what we can do. It’s a great problem to have, but it’s a problem nonetheless, and we are working on it intensely.”
When Patterson’s mayoral term ends, he knows he’ll fondly recall how he helped people. While having 450 employees can be stressful, he said he’s enjoyed his time as mayor and as an alderman. However, Patterson is looking forward to more free time.
“After I retire, every night will be Friday, and every day will be Saturday,” said Patterson.
He plans on running some of his businesses he handled before becoming mayor. University Sporting Goods, James Food Center, a moving company, and a few real estate ventures will keep Patterson busy as he transitions from mayor to citizen.
While Patterson is looking forward to a new kind of normal, his presence will be greatly missed by Oxford residents and university students alike.
Bea Tisher, a sophomore serving on the Judicial Council at UM, has worked with Patterson on a few occasions and wishes him well in his future endeavors.
“Mayor Pat not only cares for Oxford, but he cares for Ole Miss,” said Tisher. “He is genuinely invested in the well being of the town and the students that attend school here. He is welcoming to everyone, and has always been good for a joke or two whenever I have talked with him. He will definitely be missed as mayor.”
As his term ends, Patterson feels grateful to have served Oxford for so many years.
“I’ve been a blessed guy,” said Patterson. “It has been my absolute privilege to serve Oxford and its community.”